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After Deliberations, School Board Settles on $87 Million Budget Proposal

The increase, driven largely by contractual obligations and mandates, would represent a 3.2 percent increase over current funding levels, board members said.

Southington schools are pushing forward with an $87 million budget request. (Credit: Jason Vallee)
Southington schools are pushing forward with an $87 million budget request. (Credit: Jason Vallee)
There were cuts – several among new staffing positions – and a few small additions to the initial Superintendent’s Proposed 2014-15 budget, but in the end, the Southington Board of Education made just $199,467 in reductions before settling in on an $87 million budget proposal for the upcoming year.

Members of the Southington Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to request an overall budget of $87,072,005 for the upcoming school year. The budget is highlighted by new staffing needs and contractual obligations and is one that the board can stand by, Board of Education Chairman Brian Goralski said.

“I have found it very easy to speak to this board, our work and our budget,” Goralski said. “The complete and unanimous decisions are the greatest way to bring this to the public because our job now to get the community and elected officials behind it.”

The budget presented by the board represents nearly $200,000 in line item reductions from School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr.’s original proposal of $87.27 million. The budget represents a 3.3 percent increase over existing expenditures.

Board member Terry Lombardi said although the request includes several additional staff members, other new staffing positions proposed were cut in an effort to meet only the greatest needs and those mandated by Common Core Standards in the upcoming year.

One such full-time position that was eliminated from Erardi’s proposal was an administrative secretary. After considerable discussion, the board eventually voted 5-4 to eliminate it, citing that the schools are also stretched in finding clerical support.

“With a new superintendent coming in, we are not sure how the central office staff may be restricted so now would be a good time to wait,” Lombardi said.

One item restored, however, was a new account designed to better meet the needs of the district’s more gifted musical performers. Citing multiple athletics lines, members voted unanimously to approve the establishment of a $10,000 account for musical equipment across the district. This account would be overseen by the district’s music director, Jeff Shaw.

The changes in the budget will now be presented to the Town Manager and included when the manager presents the budget to the Board of Finance in February.

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